N House, a harmonious presence at the forest’s edge in Dorst by Lab32 architects.
The forest at your feet. Opposite the beautiful Boswachterij nature reserve in Dorst, a mere stone’s throw from Breda, a new residential area of the same name is being built. On the north side of the area, on the edge of the forest, are five lots designated for private development.
The key starting points for the design of this villa were the natural setting, the relationship with the forest and a timeless, minimalist design with warm materials and first-rate detailing. In addition, the villa was required to be energy neutral and a home for life.
The villa is characterized by the strong lines of white render that frame the large picture windows, the stone wall flanking the entrance and the six-metre-high central hall, and the use of naturally weathered Barnwood for the closed facade elements.
The routing and living experience in the villa is based on the connection with the forest. Thanks to the copious glass, the open layout and the voids at the front and rear, the forest becomes part of life inside the villa. The entrance is centrally positioned abutting the six-metre-high hall. On the ground floor are the living rooms and the master bedroom with walk-in closet and bathroom; on the upper floor there are three bedrooms, a second bathroom and a spacious lounge-cum-office overlooking the voids above the living and dining rooms. The louvre-roofed terrace adjoining the kitchen reinforces the indoor-outdoor relationship with the garden. The basement, which houses the utility room and storage space, is reached via a centrally located stair.
The villa was custom-built using traditional construction methods. The materials for the elevations are limited to white insulated render combined with pale grey aluminium frames, and barn wood for the closed facade sections and the garage door. The villa’s interior is perfectly in tune with its architecture. The internal finishing is tautly minimalist: white walls and ceilings complemented by pale grey floors that continue outside in the form of pale grey concrete terraces. The kitchen is bespoke work by an interior finisher, while the bathrooms were designed by Lab32 architects. The suspended wood burning stove is the Gyrofocus by Focus.
Automation and Energy
The villa achieves energy neutrality by way of high performance insulation, triple glazing with screens, a meticulously detailed building shell, an air-water heat pump, a heat-recovering air conditioning system and non-visible solar panels. The sustainable ClimaLevel underfloor heating system, which ensures a comfortable indoor climate in winter and cooling in summer, can be individually regulated for each room. The home automation system allows all systems and building services to be operated locally via central touch screens and individual control units in the rooms, or remotely via mobile devices.
The restrained detailing in combination with the form and the chosen materials make N-House a contemporary, but harmonious presence on the edge of the forest.